Five Poems


After Cy Twombly

The sadness breaks tonight it breaks at seven
it cheats all tender efforts to get even
it remembers what I did not we were Autumn
and the way it falls away and gives to auburn
where the slackening of trees felt our knot tauten
and it bunts me with the harvest of old caution
and it dances its rapt pupils to abandon –
because it knows the days weigh more now as they shorten.

Hampstead Heath, September 2011  



The primroses are here but branches bare.
The black gorse patches hillside like a rash
Across that field fallow now a time.
The river at its mouth low blades its banks
And up the coast path ropes and warning signs.
But here the rocks look most the same,
Two life men hold their distant line.
The whispers in the wind I know all mine.
The year raw yes, but still a land I’d share:
A scape that might have settled in two minds. 

Near Kingsbridge, March 2013 



Things flourish in the mould life of the heart.
So while I wait, remember heat and parks
And looking up, remember that the start
Was not so odd from this, the screens and arcs
Of calm we sometimes brought about ourselves.
And think on home and need, while absence takes its mark.
I wait now and will wait, long in this bad-lit dark.

March 2013




It is hard to say what matters on the wires.
They tautened far and nothing will compose
And all the calls once made come back to me. 

And now no new messages:
Only the sad want that there ought to be.
Would stepping out be balancing the wires?

 March 2013



For Jon

The chance of travel:
the train reversing
its deep England
and here you were,
champed from the saddle
and sorrying the smell of travel,
when – what? – a week before
your local sense had borne me up
while someone jemmied off
your new-worn saddle;
here happily arrived,
head full of barns
and secret ministries,
stashing pinions in a jiffy:
hammering the winter
to look for spring. 

Westbury, April 2013